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tv   Book Discussion on The Second Machine Age  CSPAN  August 21, 2014 1:19am-2:25am EDT

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>> it is changing. it's changing everybody's business because there are things you have to pay attention to and another thing we cover in the book is that most of the rest of the civilized world looks at the u.s. as a banana republic when it comes to privacy, because a lot of plac places, canada, japan most and most of europe and others have an objective right to privacy. we don't have that at all. we deal on a sector specific method would it's very different and if you are doing business were living in some of the rest of the world of privacy laws are much much different. >> we learned that from the first book. we had a few people that weren't us-based read the first book and say not enough for me, for my country and this book so we actually spent quite a bit of time researching iran syria
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russia turkey israel, lot of different other countries, u.k. and canada and really trying to understand their views on privacy. what's interesting is they do draw the line there's a little different than how we think about it. so for example in the u.k. they see privacy is a right as it relates to businesses collecting your data. but they have no problem snapping your picture everywhere you go in the u.k.. they are some of the most photographed citizens in the world so it's interesting to see that. if you are getting ready to live or your children are getting way are getting ready to look another country or do business in another country you'll definitely want to go to the book and look for some of the different differences between america from our point of view and those countries and their point of view on privacy. >> we thought it made it richer to explore what the whole world is doing and this and that in contrast and compare it to what we have. >> is a possible globally to wipe out all your social media or anything that has been on
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mine? >> is a possible? probably not. for years the french, seriously the french have talked about a right to be forgotten and they passed into law at one point but have been unable to enact it. but if you go back to the first there are some things you can do to help clean up some of what you have on line and the social media companies will help you to a certain extent with that and other companies that are putting information out that you may or may not help with that. >> to reintroduce it. >> now, here's the most important part of and from a practical standpoint i don't remember all the numbers that was something like 60% of people don't ever go past the first
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search page and over 90% or 95% or 98% don't go past the third search page. so if you can't get rid of it you can at least bury it. >> not that anyone here has anything to bury that your loved ones might. >> someone truly but evaded might find that kind of thing but the truth is most people wouldn't. >> including h.r. and academic review boards and things like that. >> future potential mothers-in-law. >> always then it's another thing when i talk to groups about this. i give a lot of social media ethics talks and one of my big slides is simply don't be stup stupid. you know there's a lot of thinking and think before you write because you are publishing. this is a publication.
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it's going out there and maybe you can pull it back and maybe not but you can't count on that. just because you pull up that doesn't mean somebody else didn't say and once again across the street the library of congress is keeping all public tweets. >> that's it there is and a glitch and they get the private tweets too. >> which may well happen. >> do you think they are so dependent but not savvy about where it goes? they truly believe in passwords that only their friends see things. >> they do and they don't realize there's a data warehouse behind the scenes. guess on the front side on the web site that's all you see and when you delete its gone for you but it's still back. it's like people learned the hard way with snapchat. the thing expires after so many seconds. kind of, to you. i always say to people the only time to lead us forever is when
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your device crashes and you want to recover the data. that's the only time delete is forever but everything else, no it's not forever. [inaudible] >> one of the nice things about worse and working with theresa on these books if she has a very deep and really thoughtful knowledge of the way children use the internet and how to be careful about that. one of the things she has taught me, and i now steal mercilessly. >> i can't wait to hear what it is. >> it's one of the point to a snake which is when a teenager thinks about privacy, their own privacy who do you think they want to be private from? you. and other people they don't think about of it all. it's just they want to be private with regard to their parents.
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and i don't care if anybody else in the world knows that in many cases. so there's a lot to think about when you have kids and that's one of the things that theresa has been great about. she speaks to children's groups a lot and that's one of the things about the book is parents should really be looking at it if you have kids in this space and if you are thinking about it and how you might monitor and work with them. >> one of the things too a lot of you here in the business community and one of the things i would love to have you take away and ted and i have talked about this a lot is everything is hackable. everything so i know you mean well when you are collecting data about your customers but just understand that data is a target and when it gets stolen depending on how you have stored it you can be putting your customers at risk. so there is a recent revelation and i won't name what was that there was an investment company
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in their brokers were developing psychological profiles of their clients. i cannot only imagine what it said and would identify ted is risk-averse and calley is a risk-taker and other key elements about their clients, store them in a database. they have since disbanded and americanized in that group no longer exists but the psychological profiles about every single client did and it was breached and stolen. think about the psychological profiles on your willingness to spend, invest and risk. >> you don't want to know. [laughter] >> not me. >> it's excluded me from russia. >> when you think about that example of what the group didn't even exist anymore but they didn't go back and clean up the
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data, think about the responsibility companies have to you and that you have to your customers. that is one thing too we would like everybody to think about about. case law and ted and i talked about this and he showed me where caselaw is not really there yet. unless somebody got tipped to sue its not there in the laws are not on the book yet. >> the thing about caselaw is it takes taking a case all the way through. there's a phenomenal great plaintiffs thought case that was filed in the state of washington where it was about their mobile phone and the mobile phone came with a weather app. you couldn't get rid of the weather app and of course the weather app has to know where you are because how else can it tell you whether the weather? this weather after sending information every 10 minutes back to somebody who we may know. plaintiffs counsel came up with
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a great argument. they said essentially that is a product defect that their client would never have bought the product had they known it was reporting to who knows to every 10 minutes on their location and they couldn't turn it off. it would be nice if we knew whether that case was something that would have worked or not but it was very quickly settled. other than having to case files we don't know what happened to it. we don't know where the law stance on something like that. it will be a long time before that kind of thing plays out in me really know what the law means in this area. >> so i know people have places to go and things to eat can do. taconite going to stay around for as long as you would like to answer questions. i questions. he wanted to thank ted and his law firm for generously sponsoring this event and i thank you all for coming tonight.
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thanks. >> thank you, we appreciate it. [applause] [inaudible conversations] first
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line them up solid. thank you. our special booktv programming over the next several hours focuses on technology beginning the "the second machine age: work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies." in a little more than an hour we will talk with craig on the book "eye gods: how technology shapes our spiritual and social lives" and after that our afterwards program with jeremy riff on his book "the zero marginal cost to society" and then the "authorizing data:
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recognizing your rights and protecting your family" >> next we talk about the technological advances that have taken over our lives and ways to harness them to benefit society. the conversation is about an hour. >> ready to go? good evening. welcome to today's meeting at the commonwealth club of california. the place where your in the know. you can find the commonwealth club of california on the internet at i am your moderator for the evening's program. erik brynjolfsson is to my left and andrew mcafee who are business researchers at the mit
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school of management and erik is the director at the school of business and andrew is the principle research scientist. they made a name for themselves a couple years ago with their self-published book. it brought up emerging nervousness about the fact that automation is beginning to replace jobs at higher and higher levels. they followed this up with a bigger book "the second machine age: work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies" and it is really, i think, everybody in the room will say how timely this is in the san francisco and the greater bay area there is a lot of tension about both how the tech economy is changing everybody's lives and where we
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are headed from there. the book directly tackles the promise of technology and some potential challenges it poses. i think both would like to start with questions before giving a brief summary of their views and that is what the second machine age is all about. >> why don't i start and say the book got started from confusion that both andy and i had about what was going on in the world. innovation has never been faster on one hand but people have gotten more and more pessimistic about their future and their children's future. we have technologist that are creating wonderous new things
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with self-driving cars and machines you can talk to and other amazing technologies and they are optimistic about the potential of the technologies to transform the world. we also spent a lot of time interacting with economist and there is a reason it is the abyssmal science. i came from a meeting in philadelphia and i was on a panel with three other economist and they pointed out abys statistics. employment has been struggling with the employment to population ratio plummeted. and the numbers are better but it is mostly reflecting people dropping out of the workforce not new jobs created. we were puzzles -- puzzled and
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wanted to see how the facts could appear at the same time. if you look deeper there is impressive numbers that match up with the optimistic view. overall wealth is $77 trillion with record levels. record levels of productivity and the numbers are growing. but median income and unemployment are also accurate. as we worked on the book, we came into the conclusion it is possible for both of these things to be happening at the same type. it reflects the fact technology does grow the economic pie and
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create more wealth but there is a secret of economics that says there is no economic law that everyone benefits evenly from the technological advances. it is possible some might be relatively worse off and worse off in absolute terms. it used to be buggy workers were hurt by the auto mobile. today it could be millions of people and the majority of people having a harder time making a living than before and understanding the technology and the bounty and spreading out of outcomes is what we wrote this book about and trying to under the implications for individuals and society is what we are hoping to refocus the conversation on. >> erik and i spent our whole
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careers working at the intersection of technology and economics and we wrote it because we were confused about the economics and the technology. erik describes the economic paradox and let me talk about the technology confusion that is going on. it is digital technologies have started doing things they are not supposed to be able to do. the book's genesis started in the fall of 2010 when over breakfast i hope opened my computer and came across the fact that google developed cars that driven thousands of miles on american roads in traffic with no mishaps. i spit out my coffee because they were not supposed to be able to do that. there is a wonderful book
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written six year earlier in 204o that made a strong argument for why computers would never be able to drive cars. it was basically because the sensing, pattern matching, processing and all of the stuff you have to do that well is easy for us in the brains but difficult for computers. erik and i read that book in 2004 and nodded our heads at each other and six years later they are already cars on the road. you can see the problems that confuse them. we will do a pop quiz. everyone point to a door in this room. this is a smart crowd. here is an even weirder question. point to where you are in this room.
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they are both correct answers. we will accept both of the answers. you have just solved one of the thorniest challenges in robotics. it is called slam. what does this room look like, where are the doors, and where am i in this room. we are good at that. that problem has prohibited progress in a robot. you put a robot in a room and ask where he or she is where the door is and watch the shenanigans that take place. last year a colleague named john leonard signed the problem by waving a microsoft connect in it. this is a $150 piece of consumer
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electronics. we saw enough examples and said what on earth is going on and we went out and talked to the nerds on the economic and technology side and it led to this book. >> i think the first question one would want answered then is how and why this happened. we have been hearing promises, we are working north of where all of these things get made, of things that will change the world. artificial intelligence is going to solve the problems and the promises are not delivered on regularly. now in the last 3-4 years something has changed. what? >> can i give you a three-part answer to that question. that is what sent us into the field. our answer takes up about the first third of the book. >> which you will only have to do in a couple minutes. >> it is a fair question.
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the first part is the computing power and it is easy to underestimate what happens when this improvement has been going on and sometimes a difference in degree is a difference in kind. we think we are at that point when the smart phone that most of us, probably all of us have in our pocket, is literally the super computer of a generation ago. you just have enough horsepower to do difficult things. part two of the answer is we are probably all tired of the phrase but big data. this ocean of digital information we are swimming in. it isn't orderers of magnitude bigger than it was 5-10. it is thousands and millions and billions greater than it was 5-10 years ago. data is had life blood of ski
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science. if you want to get smarter about a real world problem you need scads of data and we have that. and the third part is real innovation, coming up with something new, isn't the process of a lone eureka. the car is a great example. google combined the building blocks that were already there. and our world has many more building blocks there now. so the shorthand answer to the question of why now: exponential, digital and compliment. >> i have one question that touches a little on that.
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what do the stagnation and end of innovation folks not recognize when they are faced with that? tyler cohen who coined the term the great stagnation and his argument is growth has reached this plateau. you are painting quite a different picture. >> tyler is a super smart guy and we discussed this with him. we owe him because he inspired us to work on "race against the machine" because he was arguing we ran out of innovation and there was no more good things or few good things left to invent. and hanging around the mit lab and silicone valley we thought this can't be true. >> is this guy looking at the same economy we are. >> but he had compelling data on
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the stagnation of medium income and that forceded us to see how it happening. if innovation speeds up, paradoxically that can lead to people falling behind if they are not keeping up with their skills or the organizations are not keeping up and this dramatic reorganization of the economy can be a symptom of great innovation and wealth creation and lead to stagnating medium income. it leads to a world view that we had is innovation isn't thought of as low hanging fruit. that is the metaphor he used saying we plucked most of the low hanging fruit. innovations don't get used up
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that way. each innovation creates building blocks for additional innovation whether it is the google self driving car. i had a student, undergraduate student, and he wrote an app and a few weeks later 1.3 million users were using it. he didn't do brilliant breakthroughs but he was able to skill it because it was built on top of facebook and facebook is built on top of the web and the web is built on the internet which is built on intricity. but each innovation didn't make it harded to make a sub
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innovation. >> i rippled through a bunch of questions that look past this toward the second part of your book. before we break into the specifics i think we need to make grapple with that more generally which is the pie is growing but it doesn't appear to be distributed equally and if we can get to the root cause of that a lot of people want to know what to do it about it. >> i will touch on that one as well. i think a good example of what is going on is something -- and a conversation i overheard about the same time andy spit out the coffee over the google driving ca car. and i overheard a guy saying he
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uses turbo tax and it is very accurate. he is right. it took a process that used to be done by humans and codified and digitized it and then you can make a copy of that or ten million or a hundred million. and each copy is identical to the original. it is a perfect copy and it could be reproduced at virtually zero cost and transmitted anywhere in the world through the internet almost instantly. this is free, perfect and instant. those are three characteristics we haven't had for a lot of goods and services. they lead to particular interesting economics. winner take-all or most markets. each neighborhood or town might have a human tax preparer that can service this, with a tax
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preparation program you don't want the 1,000th best or the 2nd best you want the best one available. so the markets focus on one or maybe a handful of programs or winners in those markets. as a consequence, the revenue for that industry end up being more concentrated and it doesn't require a lot of people to make copies of turbo tax once the basic algorrhythms are written. there are winners and losersh rs. the -- losers -- and there is another large group that is consumers. people have access to cheap accurate software in this category they didn't have before
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and can solve problems more efficiently. but there is people made absolutely worse off and people that invest a lot of time and effort in learning how to do that profession or skill. some went to college to do that. and now in an economy where we are competing against a $39 piece of software a humantack -- human tax preparer doesn't provide much more value. what i described of turbo tax is a microcosm of what is happening in other organizations. we are seeing it in financial and technology and as software eats of the world we will see the same economics affect society more. >> i love the example of erik
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because it illustrates the two main economic consequences that we spend the middle third of teo book on. the first is good news -- bounty. more, better stuff. and erik said there were two flavors. and one is the rewards for the innovators, the people coming up with turbo tax. and the other, the bigger category is all of us who have access to higher quality, cheaper tax preparation. that is really good news and important not to lose sight of. the bad news is the spread. whenever i talk about the book, i invented a dorky move because i go like this. instead of having an economy where the income and wealth is clustered, thanks to this we are going like this where the middle is being hollowed out. we have a small group of people who know how to harness digital
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power and innovate with it and their wealth and income goes way up. middle of getting hollowed out and the bottom is holding steady or gripping behind. that is the spread or the challenge we face in the second machine age and our skoal goal is keeping the bounty going and minimizing the thread. >> what about the standard economic thread we have of this automation is occurring in some sectors and it will increase produ productivity and others pick up slack. why is that broken now? >> for 200 years people like us have been saying the age of technological unemployment is not. it started about 200 years ago with the ludites and during the
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industrial revolution and in 1930 it was said get ready the era of tech unemployment is at hand. knowing that pattern should calm us down. is the era finally here? we don't know. it is too early to tell. but the data isn't encouraging and i think there is good reason to think this time is different. if you wanted a report written in human history you had to involve people in the work. if you wanted to listen to a person, understand what they wanted and spit it back to human speech you had to involve a human being in that work. you can diagnose a disease and answer a telephone and any of these things we needed people for them. we don't anymore. so the digital encroachment into
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human territory is broad, deep, fast and irreversible to me. it feels different this time. >> the economical statistics also suggest something else is going on. technology has been destroying jobs and creating jobs always. there has been a creative destruction and flow and turnover that went from one industry to another. for most of the last couple hundred years, since the machine age, the industrial revolution, they have been unbalanced. if you look at productivity, employment, salary -- they rose in sync but they started divergeing. media income has stagnated and isn't keeping up the way it has
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and employment has stagnated as well. there is something knew going on in term of technology and economic statistics and we think the nature of the second machine age is at the core of the distance. >> we don't think those two things are unrelated at all. >> what is going to happen to the working class? what are your views on organized lab labor? technological advances seem to weaken the power of the working class. is the working class doomed? >> we don't think they are doomed but the bargaining power has been weakened. if a company can make do with robots or machines it is harder for a working person to say give us the revenue and share of the
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company and higher wages or we will go on strike. if terry at fox con says go on strike and we'll replace you with robots. he is the guy who producers our i-phones over there and says he is going to hire a million robots. that is a pretty severe threat and it turns out increasingly realistic. >> so the bargain power of a working goes down. is there a credible alternative? in america there are two. workers in other countries thanks to globalization and there is a digital alternative. these alternatives are appearing in the lowest wage parts of the world even. it is way too early and way too defeats to say that the working class in america is doomed. we want to walk away and say nothing to be done here and move
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on. the last third of the book is about the kind of interventions we think make sense in the era of astonishing progress. >> you can jump in that or i can give you a couple -- what knowledge skills and/or dispositi dispositions do young people need to succeed in the machine economy? what can we do to increase the education and skill level to lead to more jobs -- well this is much more specific question so let's start with the first one. >> a little bit about that. what the data says is that routine information processing tasks have been especially hard hit over the past ten years. it means following instructions and you carry out information tasks and a big chunk of the economy is devoted to those
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tasks. but research by my colleague david otter and others at mit has found that if you look at the skill content of all of the occupations in the united states, the more routine processing is involved, the more demand and the more the wages are under pressure. if you are looking for a job to stay away from it would be routine information processing chatty >> a job that requires the three r's we all still get caught so much of in primary education. >> a lot of schools are structured and setup to get people to sit quitely in rows and learn how to follow instructions carefully and that was a valuable skill in henry ford's era where people had to follow instructions. but going forward, those are the skills and tasks that robots and
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machines are good at. what they are not good at is creativity and inventing things or interpersonal relations relating to other people. and we probably need to spend more time or we do need to spend more time reinventing education to focus on that set of skills and creativity and motivating people and caring for other people rather than the skills that were dominant in the second machine age of following instructions. >> i have one question pushing back a little bit on the emphasis on education. how does increasing the education and skill level lead to more jobs when jobs are driven by demand in the economy? >> two good questions. even if we get the educational
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system right is the question and would that be futile? absolutely not. the most common complaint from businesses leaders is i cannot find people with the skills i need up and down the ladder from the front line to the top of the company. it indicates to us our education system is turning out people that are mismatched to job community. if we could wave our magic wand and fix education we would do a lot to help the unemployment and the wage crisis. the second part is the agregrate demand. it is captured in a good story about henry ford the 2nd and the head of the auto union touring an auto factor. ford is in a playful mood and jabs walter and says how are you going to get the robots to play
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union dues? and without a doubt he says how are you going to get them to buy cars? this was a phenomenal engine of demand in the past and they kept a lot growing. if the middle is hollowed out more does the demand dip? that is the definition of a recession and a recession is a spiral that is nasty. >> it is both from from what i can tell. there are not bigger advocates for trying to boost economy like
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we are. that is a business issue. we are talking about the long-term structural issues. they are not unrelated. the structural issues can lead to the drop in demand we are seeing so you need to address both of them. >> you can run an economy with a very small group of the elite at the top and a whole mass of fairly miserable people at the bottom. it is feasible. just a lousy society. smaller economy and not where we want to go at all. >> and it will have political implications. >> they tend to be unquite places as well. >> circling back at a the robots. one is given what we are seeing from android development and should the workers be required to pay a partial amount of social security taxes and
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relatedly henry ford knew the lower classes needed to use his products. do you think the modern people see things similarly? >> there has been great work done that looked at what happened during the great depression. an even worse downpour than the one we are suffering through. as agriculture was mechanized and tractors were introduces there were tens of millions of fewer farmer workers than needed before. that kind of structural change in employment led to a drop in demand and that is because the workers couldn't instantly find new work. many had to move. we head about the okies going to california and else where. and they had to be reskilled for
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new activities and that could take years or a decade or more. one of our concerns is as people become reskilled and discover new things and entrepreneurs discover new things by then the technology will evolve again so there is a constant catch up required that could lead to ongoing problems with not just structural employment but demand. >> erik and i talked to a lot of the tech bearings and they are aware of the situation and the fact that technology is racing ahead and leaving a lot of people behind. one of the most prominent technology executives in the world today told us just last week that he thinks this is the single most pressing issue that he and his industry will
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confront in our lifetimes. they are not turning a blind eye to what is going on and i find that good news. >> let's go broad and get more specific. we have a good question. which policy would you prescribe to mitigate an inquality and increase growth. >> we have a chapter on short term recommendations and then we have further out chapter. let's say the robots really take over and the digital encroa encroachment is broad, fast and irreversible, then what kind of economy do we want to create? there are a couple parts to the answer. i want to focus on tax policy. one question was about tax. economist have a straight forward answer about what if the
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pie is big but not being distributed in a fair way. their answers is let's give people money. guaranteed income is what it goes by. it sounds like a frothing socialist here. it might not be a problem in california but you cannot have that in a lot of america because you sound like you are on the far left fringe. that was a cornerstone of nixon's first presidency and freedman and others have talked about it. the weird bipartisan history to this idea and if this continues to play out along the trajectory we might need to look at that. there is a negative income tax
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and that is let's encourage work and make sure people are working and for every dollar they earn instead of taking 20 cents why don't we give them 20 cents and that will encourage people to keep working. these are heavy ideas and we think we should shift the conversation on what we are taxing and how and if we need to shift it in this direction. >> we are at the halfway point. still with us? >> this is the commonwealth club of california program and we are talking with erik brynjolfsson and andrew mcafee about their new book "the second machine age: work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies" and i am your moderator drew leonard. you can hear this on the radio or see videos online on our youtube channel. a couple questions about what
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you think of basic guaranteed income as a response to the issue which seems to be the opposite of a negative tax. >> they are very closely related. let me build on what andrew was saying. we think you can reallocate the way income is divided. but andy and i focus on an expanded earned income tax credit. they are both ways of getting income to the hands of people and some who haven't benefited as much from the technology. we have been convinced, first a quote we came across from a company that says work solves three great evils, work and it is about a sense of other val values. and bob putnam a great
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socialogist provide evidence that when work leaves a community it doesn't just take out money but it leads to increase drug use, increase in teen pregnancy, dissolution of the family and increasing crime rates. it is damaging when people lose their livelihood and we think the tax credit will help by making it more economical for businesses to hire people and people to continue to have ga gainful employment and a way to c c contribitute to society and not having a handout about having support from different
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perspecti perspectives. >> erik and i became convinced that of the three great evils need is the easiest ones to solve. boredom and vice are difficult challenges. murray is another guy with a different political background but looking at communities and what happens when work goes away. the stories they tell and the data shared are absolutely chilling. like erik says divorce rates go up, children in single-family homes goes way up, voting in elections go down and prison population increases. almost all of the work says the cause is when work goes away the bad stuff follows. so we are interested in
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solutions like the negative income tax and expansion of the earned income tax credit that preserve work. >> it is too bad the president is otherwise occupied with his state of union. >> someone needs to give him a copy of his book. >> this is a question of what would you include in the president's state of the union. what do you think of the political will to act upon what we witnessed for the last definitely the last six years is a lot of dysfunction in moving forward and addressing any pressing issue. by your description they will be come more pressing. >> it starts with the right diagnose and understanding the issues. there are a lot of people angry and they have a right to be angry. we see them in san fran and the
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tea party. they are pointing fingers. and i think they are not left, right or republican or democratic or political arguments. the policy and ideas put forward in the book we think should and could have widespread support from lots of different groups. they are things most people agree government has a role in from education to infrastructure and let me point you to another category we thing brings support and that is we can encourage more innovation in building new products and services through entrepreneurship. and that is not because we think everyone is going to be an entrepreneur or everyone who loses their job should be an entrepreneur. but it is because entrepreneurs are the people in charge of
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inventing industries and products that employ people. the industrial revolution showing people moving out of agriculture. 90% of people were in agriculture at one point and now it is 2%. they didn't become unemployed but people invented entirely new industries and found new things for people to do. we need to speed up that process despite the entrepreneur, the data suggests there is less new business creation than in the '90s or '80s. we are not creating the new industries fast enough and government have a role to speed it up, or gum it up and slow it down. we need it make advances on e e
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education, tax policy and entrepreneurship. >> we have a chapter devoted to short-term recommendations in your book. five really important areas in that chapkter are education, infrastructu infrastructure, immigration, basic research and technology. government has a clear role to play in those five areas. the optimism i can give you and this isn't a great time of optimism about getting things done is we are close to an immigration reform bill. it came close in 2013 and might happen. that would be a great boost and there is broad agreement on both sides of the aisle on entrepreneurships and we agree
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it is important. are we batting .400 there if you add it up? >> to be fair, there is a real problem in washington and one of the reasons we wrote the book is to change the conversation. the technologist are doing a great job but politicians for that matter or business leaders are not keeping up with what the technology is demanding. >> that really sets up the sides of the challenge because our ability to come up with policy responses to these kinds of problems is nowhere near as fast as the technology is accelerating. you spend the first third of your book and you quote an earlier book about the rise of western civilization at the
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industri industri industrial revolution. if we are only at the cusp of this and it is going to go faster the playbook of solutions is something we have a hard time getting through in times where change is slow. >> well, i know, and that is why we think it is urgent to have this conversation and to change it. one time we were bemoaning some of the slowness of the response in washington. a friend of mine said the thing you have to remember, erik, is that washington doesn't lead on these issues. washington are followers and respond when the people demand it. it is only once that all of us start understanding the issues and demanding change that people in congress and the whitehouse are going to want to respond to it. so, you know, for better or worse, it sarts with changing the conversation and understanding the issues and
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then we can expect action in washington. >> you got the central challenge right. it isn't a technological challenge. the technologist are doing great work and technology is going to race ahead. that is one prediction i make about the future with hundred percent confidence. the central challenge is the other elements of society are not changing as quickly. our organizations, education system, political process and other important parts of society are not geared up to change as quickly as technology does. we have to address de. we have to speed up the clock speed of our other institutions. and let me emphasize we are vore more problems as they align and the answer is to speed up the response to it. if we don't do that there is more pressure and ludites that
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want to stop the technology and we think that is a terrible outcome. >> why are we writing question on paper and collecting them versus an app? you don't have to answer that. we have a group of questions and wondering where this ends. do quantum computers get consciousness? are there areas humans will hold off the machine? >> i see we are just about time. >> one person said computers can't initute something so that should be save. >> well, isn't that what they said before money ball came to baseball that they could not intuit a good player?
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we learned to never say never. we would point to a job or application and say there is an example a machine can't do and low and behold we would run into someone on at the media lab working on that project. there are areas where the advances are happening faster and lower. fine motor control, picking up a dime is something most robots can't do. >> there is a great video by a bunch of researchers from berkeley of towel folding robots. it is like watching paint try if you watch it in real-time. it takes minutes to fold the towel but wait a while. >> i had a chance to review the lego mindstorm robotic set with my son and he built a snake that
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lunged at your hand like a cobra. >> he is the generation developing the next wave. the area of far out technology trajectory we spend most our time going away from is the digital stuff becoming fully intelligence and conscious. it has been poplarized by people who are very smart and prolific. erik and i go back and forth and i don't see that on the trajectory we are on but i want to eco the mantra of never say never. >> this ultimately solves or economic problem or what jeffrey sax calls the problem of extreme poverty in the world. you don't have to be that wild
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eyed to extract the trends. you see poverty can be eliminated within 20 years world wide. poverty is something we had with us and people struggle with not for centuries but milinia and we maybe dealing with extrem poverty because the technologies are creating so much bounty and so much wealth. the issues is distribution and managing the disruption associated with that. in terms of material progress, we are doing well. >> erik and i were both at ted and i don't want to brag but bono was my warmup act at ted and he gave a presentation, you have to watch it, about the real trajectory of wiping out poverty in sub-saharan african and that is not independent from
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technology research. there is beautiful research showing what happens in the poorest parts of the world when people get primitive phones for the first time. their lives with a better trajectory. >> and 3-d printers, what seemed to be science fiction a few years ago, are becoming reality. >> do you think they will apply to other pressing problems we have here like our energy issues, reduced global carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. if we have the law and the innovation do you see -- >> well, as andy and i talked about beforehand. there is a whole set of problems and we can only write one book at a time. we will not take on all of those at once. but i think as the tech
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technological capabilities are bigger and we have more power we can address more needs. in the case of global warming i am optimistic this can be a help. a scientist looked at the energy consumption of computers and that is improving faster than morris law even. >> let's me take erik's optimism up a little. we put a quote in the book and some ideas from an economist name julian simon who never gets enough thinking. in the time the world was doom and gloom he said you don't understand what is going on and what we humans are good at is solving our problems. over and over again things come up and they seem dire and we
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find solutions to them. the reason we should be more optimistic these days and in the next few years we will for the first time ever bring billions of people fully fledged and access knowledge and huge amounts of power. this is the best news going and i am confidant. >> it isn't just the access to the world's knowledge it is being able to contribute to the knowledge. this is innovation on steroids, in a good sense, i guess. >> what we can say is in the city of barry bonds you know what we are talking about. >> what you just said about, you know, the issue of


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